HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa
|Marrakesh - November 12, 2016 : Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa opens Ocean Day at COP 22|
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to say how delighted we are to have His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco here with us and to pay tribute to his personal commitment in favor of environmental protection, particularly ocean conservation.
This theme day devoted to oceans, organized as part of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 22), is a historic turning point. Indeed, oceans are now officially part of the UNFCCC Global Action Agenda, thus supporting Sustainable Development Goal 14.
I would like to highlight the role of the sponsors of the “Because the Ocean” Declaration, promoting ocean resilience, which was launched in Paris on the sidelines of the COP21 and signed by more than thirty countries, including the Kingdom of Morocco.
This declaration quite rightly reminds us that “the Ocean sustains life on Earth and our collective well-being”. It produces 50% of the oxygen we breathe, absorbs 25% of all the CO2 emitted by human activities and captures more than 90% of the anthropogenic heat. It has thus protected us against more serious and rapid impacts of global warming.
The ocean is also a major food source, contributing substantially to food security.
Finally, the ocean offers a wide range of services, namely in the fields of transportation, fishing, aquaculture, energy and biotechnology, whose contribution to the economy amounts to more than USD3 trillion.
However, as we all know: the ocean is in danger. It is experiencing considerable stress. A number of ecosystems and species of marine fauna and flora are endangered, while others sustain significant, potentially irreversible damage.
Millions of people, particularly in small insular states, may be forced to migrate because of rising sea levels.
Faced with the urgent need to preserve the ocean and increase its resilience, I believe we can, collectively and with determination, rise to the challenge.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thanks to its geographical location, having two coastlines totaling 3500 kilometers, Morocco has always been aware of the importance of oceans at the economic, social, cultural and environmental levels.
His Majesty King Mohammed VI has made environmental protection a pillar of public policies and development strategies, as well as of the Kingdom’s regional and international commitments.
On the occasion of the COP22, Morocco will confirm its support for existing initiatives regarding oceans and will launch a new initiative, the “Blue Belt”, aimed at increasing coastal communities’ resilience and promoting sustainable fishing activities.
Since its inception 15 years ago, the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, which I have the honor of presiding over, has made the protection of the coastline one of its five priorities.
Children and young people are the main target of our education programs in this field. The particularity of our pedagogical approach is that it combines education with regular awareness-raising campaigns and field work.
Furthermore, Coast Week, organized every year by the Foundation, provides the opportunity to exchange views and mobilize stakeholders, as well as to organize community outreach activities and to popularize science.
Every two years, the Foundation also awards the “Lalla Hasnaa Sustainable Coast Trophies” to reward pioneering initiatives and innovative research in the area of coast conservation and promotion.
I keenly look forward to seeing stakeholders join efforts, foster exchange and dialogue, and build consensus and fruitful partnerships in favor of coast conservation. It is not only a personal commitment, but also an obligation for me in my capacity as “Coast Ambassador”.
On the occasion of the COP22, the Foundation will join the “Blue Belt” initiative. Thanks to its experience in the sustainable development of three Moroccan humid zones, on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines, the Foundation will take part in the establishment of marine protected areas.
It is one of the many contributions which will, no doubt, be presented or announced during today’s meeting.
I wish you every success in your endeavors.